Crude figures

With politicians taking steps to curb speculation in energy markets, the debate over what is driving oil prices and the role of those operating in the derivatives market is more divisive than ever. By John Ferry


Political pressure on energy market regulators to curb the activities of speculators has reached a new high. With oil breaking above $140 a barrel on June 26, politicians are lining up to pillory hedge funds and other market participants they say are forcing the price of physical oil way beyond what could be justified by fundamentals.

It is not just the short-term traders that are causing consternation. A gush of money has flowed into commodity indexes, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and

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